Stage 7: Maceda — Puebla de Sanabria, 158.5km
Could get a bit interesting, but this is the last of our transitional triptych.
What's It About?
More hot weather, somewhat higher altitudes, and a foretelling of doom that awaits. But yeah, it'll be a moderately fun stage that changes nothing for the GC.
ChrisF's Dirt and Rock Pairings
Where we never takes things for granite.
From Maceda and, later, from Allariz, we will pass through large areas of granite, gneiss and slate rocks. The emergence of these rocks has fascinated humans since prehistoric times and were chosen as sanctuaries or magical places, places that are marked with petroglyphs (rock carvings) and other inscriptions, such as the San Vitorio petroglyphs in Baños de Molgas, just a few kilometres away from the race's itinerary.
Human stuff on rocks. Ok...
During the Quaternary most recent glacial phases, around 100,000 years ago, a large glacier settled on these mountains, forming a miniature ice cap. Ice strips spilled from that ice mass, moving glaciers that, like excavators, created deep canyons in the region's granite. One of the ice strips followed the current flow of the Tera River, was 15 kilometres long and reached a width of over 300 metres of glacial ice. When glaciation ended abruptly around 12,000 years ago, it left behind a heritage of deep canyons, hanging valleys, roches moutonnées, glacial ridges, moraine and, the most characteristic element of the Natural Park and of the entire region: the Sanabria Lake.
The word of the day is "Glacier." Yeah, thanks, got that.
Map and Profile time. The light tan color is Portugal, if that helps you figure out exactly where we are today.
The Vuelta came to Sanabria in 2013, then kept going a few more km to Lago de Sanabria, for a more tranquil finish-line setting (is that a thing?). Then Michael Matthews took the honors. He did so coming off the Alto de Padornelo, same as today. So basically, there is a different run-in to that climb and the finish line stops short, but otherwise it's a re-running of an old, forgettable sprint stage.
Whom Does it Favor
The sprinters. So far Etixx-Quick Step have reaped all the profits of these hilly-ish races that end in a bunch finish, and with little left to play for after today, you can expect them to take up the reins tomorrow. The only mystery will be who has escaped before they finally do so, and by how much.
Pick to Win
Fabio Felline. He has to win one of these days, right?